AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli's prospective return to the Premier League has collapsed amid interest from Arsenal, after club president Silvio Berlusconi claimed the Italy international's poor World Cup performances cost him a £25m (€37m) move to a "top English club".
Balotelli scored just once in three group games as the Italians crashed out of the group stage in Brazil and was substituted at half-time in his side's decisive 1-0 defeat to Uruguay.
Such performances following an uncertain campaign with Milan have led to reports the club are ready to cash in on the 23 year old with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger understood to have held talks with agent Mino Raiola - who says his client is unhappy in his homeland - regarding a switch to north London.
However, with the Gunners preparing to turn their attention to signing Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez, Milan, who have previously described Balotelli as "replaceable", have suggested a big Premier League club has withdrawn from the race to sign the former Manchester City striker.
"Other than Italy, I'm the one who lost at the World Cup," Berlusconi said according Gazzetta Dello Sport.
"I was selling Balotelli to an English team for several millions, but, after this World Cup, who will buy him now? I was going to sell it to a top English club for €35 million, now the deal has stalled."
Despite having been a leading figure in criticising racism in Italy, Balotelli's reputation within English football is chequered having picked up four red cards in two and half seasons at the Etihad Stadium, during which he constantly fell out with then manager Roberto Mancini.
While their rivals continue to make high-profile signings in the summer transfer window, Arsenal have again stalled in their attempts to bring in significant additions with an accomplice to Olivier Giroud the top priority for Wenger.
Arsenal watched their title hopes fade last season amid the inconsistent form of the overworked French international and strengthening in the area will be required if the club are to mount another challenge in the new season.